In 1967, Woodside Petroleum Development Pty. Ltd., then Burmah Oil Company of Australia Ltd., drilled its first well on the North West Shelf, Ashmore Reef No. 1

Within the oil industry, Australia was considered logistically a remote area of the World, and the North West Shelf, one of the most remote areas of Australia.

A description of the problems overcome to achieve the commencement of oil exploration in North West Shelf waters, with a main operations base in Perth, 2000 Km distance from the well location and a forward supply base at Broome, 400 Km from Ashmore Reef, up to offshore drilling in the 1980's is presented in the following six topics:

  1. Construction of offshore refuelling installations for helicopters.

  2. Commissioning of temporary forward bases as drilling permit areas decreed.

  3. Setting up of communication network from Perth to Broome and drilling rigs.

  4. Logistic problems with air, land and sea distances from Perth to drilling areas.

  5. Drilling in waters under threat of tropical cyclone activity.

  6. Present day operations.

An update of current operations in North West waters will be given at conference time and will not be included in the published paper due to the time element involved.

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